The Höfner company was founded by luthier Karl Höfner in the city of Schönbach in 1887, at a time when the city, later to become part of the Czech Republic, was populated by Germans. He soon became the largest manufacturer of string instruments in the country. His sons Josef and Walter joined the company around 1920, and began spreading the brand's reputation worldwide. The company became involved in production for the Germany army in World War II producing wooden crates and soles for boots. After the war Germans were expelled from the Sudetenland and Hofner was forced to move to West Germany. The company initially moved to an ex-work camp at Möhrendorf in 1948 but soon became involved in the development of a new township and factories in Bubenreuth. The new Höfner factory was opened in 1950. This was expanded three times between 1953 and 1960. Karl Höfner, the founder, lived to see the company revival and died in Bubenreuth in 1955. In 1964 a further factory was built at Hagenau about 5 km from Bubenreuth. This was used for the machining of wooden parts that were then assembled at Bubenreuth. The factory at Hagenau was expanded twice in the 1970s.
The daughter of Walter Höfner, Gerhilde, began working for the company in the mid 1950s taking an active part in all aspects of management. Her husband, Christian Benker, joined the company in 1963. They would together become the driving force for the company as Josef and Walter entered retirement in the 1970s.
In 1994, Höfner became part of the Boosey & Hawkes Group, and was able to expand and upgrade its facilities with the influx of cash. In 1997, the company moved from Bubenreuth to Hagenau.
After a near-bankruptcy in 2003 Boosey & Hawkes sold its musical instrument division (including the Höfner and Buffet Crampon companies) to The Music Group, a company formed by rescue buyout specialists Rutland Fund Management, for £33.2 million. Höfner remained a part of this conglomerate until December 2004, when The Music Group sold the company to Klaus Schöller, who had been the General Manager of Höfner for many years, and to his wife Ulrike Schrimpff, the Finance Director at Höfner. Klaus Schöller and Ulrike Schrimpff remain as the owners of the business today.
Made famous by Beatle Paul McCartney the Hofner Violin Bass has become sunominous with the Fab Four. From the very early days of Love Me Do to the final Roof Top Concert, Paul used the Hofner right through hisd days as a Beatle.
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